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Press Releases
OLED Will Advance from Smartphone to IT Products as Related Large-Generation Fabs Are Being Planned, but Evaporation Equipment Poses Challenges, Says TrendForce



TrendForce’s latest report—AMOLED Technology and Market Status—points out that the display panel industry has initiated plans for large-generation fabs that manufacture OLED panels The migration of the OLED display technology to larger generations is driven by the recent improvements in related process technologies and materials Also, brands have also been pushing for the adoption of OLED for larger display products TrendForce forecasts that by 2025, the penetration rate of OLED panels among IT products will reach 28% on account of the gradual deployment of the supporting panel production capacity Then, the OLED penetration rate in the IT segment is expected to take off noticeably in 2026, coming to 52% According to TrendForce’s analysis, panel suppliers are confronted with challenges in several areas as they plan to migrate OLED panel manufacturing from the existing G6 fabs to larger-generation fabs so that this display technology can cross into the IT segment These areas are as follows: [1] Evaporation Equipment Regarding the selection of OLED evaporation equipment and related process technologies, some panel suppliers are hoping that the vertical evaporation method will solve the problem of the sagging of the fine metal mask (FMM) However, vertical evaporation is a new processing method that still has a lot of technical uncertainties to be worked through As for the existing horizontal evaporation method, panel suppliers want to see further optimizations so that they can maintain a certain level of production capacity with less number of equipment than before Additionally, Apple is thinking about adopting the two-stacked tandem structure (Tandem OLED) that can significantly increase the lifespan of its OLED displays From panel suppliers’ perspective, setting up evaporation processing capacity within a certain amount of fab space is a lot harder if OLED panels feature the tandem structure However, there are alternative solutions for increasing the lifespan of OLED displays One way is to perform an OLED pixel simulation, through which a blue subpixel layer is added to help achieve a better color balance and longer lasting colors Raising glass utilization rate is also another aim behind the migration to larger-generation fabs For instance, G87 currently has about a 10% gain in production efficiency compared with G85 Nevertheless, target customers may have a preferred supplier for the evaporation equipment In the case of Apple, it favors Cannon Tokki from Japan Hence, there is a possibility that the sizes of OLED panel substrates could be limited by the panel sizes that Tokki’s evaporation equipment can handle in the future Turning to the technologies in the manufacturing of OLED panel backplanes, LTPO offers a higher efficiency in terms of power consumption Additionally, large-sized OLED panels will need an auxiliary electrode to support the existing transparent cathode in the pixel circuit The auxiliary electrode helps boost conductivity and thereby resolve the problem of IR drop that is often seen in large-sized panels On the other hand, the number of photo masks used in fabricating a pixel circuit is determined by the locations of electrodes, so certain designs may require more masks Moreover, adding a new electrode could affect the transparency of OLED panels [2] Foldability If OLED is to be adopted for foldable notebook computers, finding the right kind of material for the cover lens also requires some considerations Currently, ultra-thin glass (UTG) is superior to colorless polyimide (CPI) in terms of performance However, the former has shortcomings such as a higher price and a supply chain that is relatively less developed Samsung has adopted “Color Filter on Encapsulation (COE)” for the OLED displays of its foldable smartphones This solution reduces the thickness of an OLED display by eliminating circular polarizer, thus allowing for higher brightness and greater foldability As for foldable notebook computers, these devices have a larger screen size and thus susceptible to more glare Therefore, to effectively absorb reflected light while abandoning circular polarizer, some kind of a “black pixel define layer (BPDL)” is needed in addition to the black matrix resist that is incorporated into the existing color filter However, there are challenges in the manufacturing of a BPDL because a relatively thick film that is darkened with an organic dye is difficult to form and deposit using the exposure process [3] Touch Function Looking at the touch function that is standard with smartphone display panels, it is more susceptible to environmental noise interference as the display size increase In the past, mutual capacitance sensing was sufficient performance-wise However, with OLED now being adopted for notebook computers that has a touch display, making the switch to self-capacitance sensing may be necessary in order to resolve the problem of false touch points However, this change in sensing technology will also entail a review of the touch circuit design and the die sizes of the touch and display driver ICs so that the thickness of the bottom display border will not increase on account of the whole fan-out area [4] Image Sticking At the system level, image sticking (burn-in) on an OLED display tends to occur in parts of the screen where app icons are located since icons are static images with fixed locations This problem, which has to do with the aging of OLED pixels, has been continuously worked on since it first appeared Anti-aging solutions now include pixel shifting and the tandem structure, which can reduce pixel current by half In the future, the development of OLED could reach the point where burn-in could be effectively resolved By then, a dark mode featuring a black background and white texts could also be possible for OLED displays Following the overview of the above-mentioned issues in the manufacturing of large OLED panels, TrendForce now turns to the adoption of OLED for IT products On the whole, there are three main directions in technology development over the long run [1] Cost Reduction Cost savings can be achieved through several ways such as raising glass utilization rate, streamlining the LTPO+COE process, optimizing the electron transport layer (ETL), developing local sources of the key materials, and adopting more advanced evaporation equipment The cost of manufacturing large-sized OLED panels for IT products will also fall on account of other factors For instance, the price of UTG will go down as the number of suppliers for this kind of material rises Moreover, better choices could appear for the designs and materials of foldable notebook display hinges Lastly, printing process has the highest material utilization rate Therefore, panel suppliers will need to find ways to apply the printing process to the fabrication of the tandem structure and other parts of the OLED panel [2] Improvements in Efficiency and Reliability Panel suppliers will be incorporating new technologies such as COE and micro-lens panel (MLP) to raise light-emitting efficiency and lower power consumption At the same time, they will attempt to extend the lifespan of the existing OLED materials To further minimize the problem of image sticking in certain parts of the screen, the user interface has to be designed in ways that address the issue of static image content causing OLED pixels to age and degrade [3] Greater Range of Applications Flexible, thin, and self-emitting OLED panels enable different folding forms for various user scenarios At the same time, they also allow for integration with other technologies such as under-display camera, fingerprint sensor, etc In sum, OLED is gradually becoming mainstream for smartphones, but it still has many challenges to overcome in order to expand into other applications that involve larger display sizes Nevertheless, TFT-LCD as a traditional display technology is almost at its fullest maturity in terms of product design Thus, OLED, which has a much larger room for imaginations, is a significant technology that brands will be focusing on in the future TrendForce believes that the next one to two years will be a critical period for the growth of OLED in the market for IT products The extent of the improvements in related technologies and the magnitude of investments in the supporting large-generation panel production capacity will determine if the adoption of OLED in the IT segment will proceed smoothly For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
OLED Mobile Phone Panel Penetration Rate Estimated to Exceed 50% in 2023, Brands to Expand IT Product Promotions in 2024, Says TrendForce



According to the latest TrendForce research report, the proportion of OLED in the mobile phone market is expected to exceed 50% in 2023, up from 42% in 2021 As the penetration of OLED in the mobile phone market gradually expands, IT products will be the next battlefield for key OLED developments In order to further expand the IT market, panel manufacturers have increased capital expenditures for the construction of IT panel production lines and shifted planning to higher generational fabs to achieve more effective and economical sectioning but also taking on increasingly technical challenges Compared with the performance of traditional LCDs in laptops, OLED present obvious disadvantages in terms of lifespan and pricing and its IR drop (voltage drop) has a more obvious effect on power consumption as size increases In order to resolve voltage drop and pixel non-uniformity caused by current passing through a large area, in addition to the transparency and thickness (resistance) of the cathode, the design of additional auxiliary electrodes is even more important in reducing power consumption In terms of performance, COE (Color filter On Encapsulation) and MLP (Micro Lens Panel) technology can also be used to increase light extraction efficiency and reduce overall power consumption Coupled with the introduction of Tandem technology, connecting OLEDs in series can effectively extend material lifespan since current is halved at the same brightness, thus meeting the specifications of notebook PCs In terms of materials, in order to solve the problems related to poor traditional fluorescent luminous efficiency and blue phosphorescence lifespan, in addition to LGD's mass production of deuterium blue series fluorescent materials, the strategic deployment of third-generation OLED material TADF (Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence) and fourth-generation super-fluorescence mass production has also gradually accelerated The 100% energy conversion that could only be achieved previously by doping noble metals in phosphorescence can be achieved by TADF, while super-fluorescence is achieved by doping TADF fluorescent materials to improve the issues of TADF’s large half-wave width, poor color purity, and lifespan In addition to actively improving the luminous efficiency of blue light, SDC also recently acquired German company Cynora and 300 to 400 OLED patents Previously, Cynora released green and blue TADF materials, claiming blue materials increase luminous efficiency by 15% In addition to restraining the price of UDC’s blue phosphorescent materials, this acquisition also poses a threat to panel factories that choose to use TADF materials in the future If there is a dispute with Kyulux, another Japanese company that has made progress in TADF, SDC can form a protective barrier of patents TrendForce further indicates, in the construction of large-generational OLED panel fabs, glass substrates laminated with thin-film encapsulated hybrid OLEDs will be prioritized to reduce weight and to cope with the problem of wrinkling at the edges of PI substrates as surface area increases In addition, evaporation machinery size limitations have always been problematic Arranging the various generations of evaporation machinery has become key to the development of the current wave of technological evolution In order to overcome sagging FMM mask center of gravity caused by the lengthening and resolution of larger generations and to ensure evaporation yield after surface totals increase, SDC partnered with ULVAC to develop vertical evaporation equipment However, the transportation of vertical substrates, the distribution of tension after vertical meshing, and the uniformity of material flow during vertical evaporation will all lead to more challenges in the new process In addition, since SDC signed an agreement with ULVAC, other panel manufacturers are looking to TOKKI to continue discussions regarding generational re-optimization of horizontal machines and wish to overcome core problems in a more stable fashion such as with G86 or multiple G6 machinery As for the large-generational printed OLED jointly developed by CSOT and JOLED, relevant materials and equipment have yet to be perfected, which will affect the subsequent planning of CSOT in regards to OLED notebooks and the development of its T8 production line In summary, TrendForce believes the next few years will be a critical period for the enhancement of OLED penetration In the past, Apple has repeatedly played a key role in many new technologies and the launch of new products The aforementioned development and discussion of numerous medium-sized OLED technologies are also highly related to Apple's plan to adopt OLED panels in future mid-size products Since the near-term remains constrained by the slow evolution of the efficiency of large generational equipment and materials, coupled with the overall impact of a poor economic environment as a whole, the development of OLED panels in medium-sized IT products will continue to move slowly in the next two years However, if Apple can launch iPad and MacBook series with OLED panels in accordance with its planning after 2024, it is expected to bring extremely positive benefits to the development of OLED panels in terms of IT products For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

Press Releases
Release of New Brand Flagships Expected to Drive Market Penetration Rate of OLED Folding Mobile Phones to Approximately 1.1% in 2022, Says TrendForce



According to TrendForce, as technology and materials evolve, the penetration rate of OLED folding mobile phones is estimated to reach 11% in 2022 While mobile phone brands successive launch new flagship folding devices, penetration rate is expected to exceed 25% post-2024 driven by improved specifications and increasingly competitive pricing In addition, there is an opportunity to provide a breath of fresh air to a market steeped in sluggish consumer sentiment led by inflation and drive folding mobile phones into the mainstream In response to the successive launch of new phones by Samsung, Xiaomi, and Motorola, TrendForce analyzes the foldable model from three aspects: construction, specifications, and technology According to usage preferences, mobile phone types can be divided into easy to carry, vertical flip-top folding, and horizontal folding that can act as small tablets when unfolded In terms of construction, there is the inward fold that requires an extra secondary screen and the outward fold that is lighter in weight but exposes the screen to the risk of scratches Although the outward folding radius is larger, the mechanical performance of the module and hinge design is very challenging and, since the screen is exposed, it must be kept in close contact with the hinge at every angle The radius for inward folding screens is smaller, though compressive stress is greater, which promotes creases and related reliability issues However, according to general usage habits, if an inward fold can effectively reduce weight and eliminate creases, coupled with the advantage of the screen being protected by the mobile phone case, this type of device would be more likely to be popular with consumers In terms of specifications, the size of vertical folding screens is approximately 65~7 inches and the size of horizontal folding screens is 75~8 inches The refresh rate of the two primary screens is 120Hz, while horizontal secondary screens have advanced from 60Hz to 120Hz and vertical secondary screens are limited by screen size, thus, maintaining a 60Hz refresh rate In terms of technology, in addition to the introduction of widely known LTPO which can deliver a low refresh rate to conserve power, the follow-up development of next-generation LTPO20 dynamic intelligent control technology that maintains smooth frequency conversion is also worth paying attention to The Xiaomi Mix fold 2 adopts the same design methodology as the Samsung fold 4 It uses low-temperature CF as a polarizer replacement to increase light output efficiency coupled with an AR (anti-reflection) coated UTG (ultra-thin glass) to reduce the impact of polarizer removal Overall thickness is greatly reduced which is beneficial to folding However, in order to perfectly present the effect of a flexible folding screen, it is necessary to simulate and optimize film material, stacking, hinge selection, and mid-frame design, and to find the most suitable combination based on reliability and cost considerations For example, the hinges of key components are U-shaped and teardrop-shaped A U-shaped bending radius is small and stress is concentrated within a smaller area while the teardrop-shaped bending radius is larger but its composition is more complex and can easily require hundreds of parts In addition, teardrop shaped material options include liquid metal, carbon fiber, Ti alloy, stainless steel, plastic, etc, and can cost at least 3 to 4 times more than the U-shaped hinge In this iteration, the Xiaomi hinge is made of carbon fiber material which reduces weight by 35% With its self-developed micro-teardrop shaped hinge, average thickness is reduced by 18% compared with other models, making the thickness of the entire folded device very close to the thickness of an iPhone 13 The moto razr 2022 uses a double-rotating teardrop-type orbiting shaft Due to the large space required by the double-shaft structure, the radius of the folded teardrop can be set at 33mm, which makes crease generation difficult It also supports multi-angle hovering in addition to seamless folding In addition, driven by a full screen, the Galaxy Z fold4 optimizes the pixel design of the under-screen camera location to improve resolution and reduce visual issues Xiaomi is creating new user habits directly by moving the selfie lens to the secondary screen, though its screen size seems slightly insufficient for work and video conferences TrendForce indicates that panel supplier SDC (Samsung Display Company) is the biggest winner among this wave of new foldable phones However, as industry chain technology continues to improve, more panel suppliers will join in the price competition Judging from the current selection of brands, in addition to BOE, which has been deeply involved in OLED applications, Visionox, which has recently announced a number of technologies, is expected to break through the pack, and the proportion of supply should increase significantly After Xiaomi's cooperation with CSOT on the Mix Fold, the company seems to have turned its attention to Tianma this year and more foldable products from Tianma are expected for release For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforcecom For additional insights from TrendForce analysts on the latest tech industry news, trends, and forecasts, please visit our blog at https://insidertrendforcecom/

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